By The Associated Press
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— British death toll from coronavirus surpasses 28,000.
— Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus continues decline.
— Spaniards flock to exercise after 7-week lockdown.
WASHINGTON — The top Republican and Democrat in Congress say they are respectfully declining an offer of quick COVID-19 tests offered by President Donald Trump’s administration.
Limited testing for lawmakers has become an issue in decisions about when they should return to Washington.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had tweeted Friday that three rapid-testing machines and 1,000 tests were being sent for the Senate to use next week.
Trump also tweeted that “tremendous” testing capacity is available for senators returning on Monday, and for the House.
But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday in a statement that they want the equipment to go to front-line facilities instead.
Pelosi decided against having her members join the Senate in returning next week because the Washington area remains a virus hot spot.
PARIS — French Health Minister Olivier Veran said people traveling into France, including French citizens returning home, will be placed in a 14-day quarantine as part of new extended proposals to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
Entering France is currently very restricted to essential travel, and a travel certificate is required for everyone entering the country. The proposals are being sent to Parliament next week.
Veran said that “the compulsory quarantine will concern anyone entering the national territory, an overseas territory or Corsica.”
It’s not clear if the quarantine would apply only to travelers from beyond the Schengen border and Britain. The Schengen Area includes 26 countries and encompasses most of the European Union nations.
ATLANTA — People across metro Atlanta went on roofs and patios, to parks and even cemeteries, or stopped on the side of a usually busy interstate to watch a military flyover Saturday afternoon.
The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels flew to honor first responders and medical teams. They passed over downtown and midtown, where major hospitals are located, and were loudly cheered.
People outside at historic Oakland Cemetery generally adhered to social distancing guidelines but few wore masks. Some carried lawn chairs and beverages while others pushed strollers, while many tried to capture the moment with phones or cameras.
Georgia has already allowed businesses like hair and nail salons, restaurants and gyms to open with social distancing restrictions.
LONDON — Britain’s Department of Health says a total of 28,131 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom, an increase of 621 from the previous tally.
The figures include deaths as of 5 p.m. on Friday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday told the nation that Britain had passed its peak in the COVID-19 outbreak and said he has plans to reveal a “road map’ outlining how lockdown steps might be eased in the coming week.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s health minister has announced 78 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 3,336.
The minister tweeted Saturday that an additional 1,983 had been infected, increasing the total to 124,375. “For the first time since March 30, the daily case number has fallen below 2,000,” he tweeted.
The new number leaves Turkey ranked seventh in the world for highest infection rate from the novel coronavirus. Russia’s confirmed infections of 124,054 had briefly surpassed Turkey’s.
The minister also tweeted that 58,259 people have recovered from COVID-19, including 4,451 since Friday.
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s agriculture department says the state’s animal agriculture industries are making adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Saturday in a release that the changes will strengthen the supply chain and make workers safer but could “lead to some near-term speedbumps.” He was responding to concerns of food shortages due to national shutdowns of beef and pork producers.
Mary Kelpinski, chief executive officer of the Michigan Pork Producers Association, says there’s plenty of meat in cold storage around the state but advised shoppers to resist panic buying of meat products in the weeks ahead.
ROME — The number of beds treating COVID-19 patients continued to decline as Italy prepared to ease its strict lockdown measures on Monday.
The Civil Protection Agency said that there were 212 fewer people hospitalized with the virus and 39 fewer in intensive care in the past 24 hours, numbers that have been consistently easing in recent weeks. That has given authorities confidence to be able to cope with any new spike in cases as more businesses reopen and individuals are allowed more freedom to move around their towns and cities of residence.
At the same time, the number of dead nudged up the most in 11 days — by 474 — and the number of people who have recovered from the virus was the lowest in more than two weeks. Italy has registered the most deaths after the United States, at 28,710.
PARIS — France hopes to extend the health emergency put in place to fight the coronavirus crisis until July 24.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran made the announcement on Saturday, arguing that the extension of the measures that began March 24 is required to prevent a new flare-up of infections.
The proposal, which will be put to the French Parliament next week and is expected to pass, is centered on the notion that a “premature” relaxing the state of emergency “could see a risk of the outbreak” increasing.
France is among countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, having recorded some 24,594 deaths and 167,346 confirmed cases so far.
The new proposals include a data system for those that have contracted the virus, that will function for up to a year.
ISTANBUL — The Turkish trade ministry lifted export restrictions and a requirement to obtain advance permission for private companies to export medical equipment needed in treating COVID-19.
The decision, published in the Official Gazette, rescinded restrictions on exporting ventilators, intubation tubes and ICU monitors, among other equipment.
The trade ministry lifted restrictions on the export of ethanol, cologne, disinfectants and hydrogen peroxide.
Turkey also announced a military plane delivered medical supplies, including locally produced ventilators, to Somalia. Ankara has so far shipped needed supplies to at least 55 countries, including to the United States.
Turkey, a country of 83 million, has more than 122,000 cases and more than 3,200 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities have announced three deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
That raises the total to 143 — 106 men 37 women. The average age of the victims is 74.
There have been eight more confirmed infections for a total of 2,620 cases.
BARCELONA, Spain — Spaniards filled the streets to exercise for the first time after seven weeks of confinement to fight the coronavirus.
People ran, walked or rode bicycles under a sunny sky in Barcelona, where many flocked to the maritime promenade to get close to the still off-limits beach. Others jogged around parks and along sidewalks across the nation.
“Some people think it may be too early, as I do, but it is also important to do exercise for health reasons,” says 36-year-old Cristina Palomeque in Barcelona.
Spain has 24,824 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 215,216 infections. The lockdown has helped reduce daily increases of infections.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A Malaysian minister has defended the mass arrest of immigrants without valid documents in viral hotspots.
Senior Minister Ismail Sabri says 586 immigrants were detained during an operation Friday in several buildings under strict lockdown in Kuala Lumpur.
He says they all tested negative for the virus and have been sent to detention camps for breaching immigration laws. Rights groups have slammed the government for breaking its promise to not act against migrants who come out for virus screening. They say the inhumane move during a pandemic could hamper efforts to curb the virus.
Ismail brushed off the criticism Saturday, saying authorities were acting within the law. He says Malaysia has taken care of the immigrants’ welfare during the lockdown, but they must face the law as they have no valid documents. The country has more than two million immigrants living illegally in the country.
Malaysia, which has 6,176 virus cases and 103 deaths, will let most businesses reopen Monday before a partial lockdown ends May 12.
LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have named their baby boy Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, honoring their grandfathers and doctors who cared for the U.K. leader after contracting the coronavirus.
Symonds made the announcement on her Instagram page, posting a picture of her cradling the infant. She praised the maternity team at University College Hospital in London, saying her “heart is full.″
The birth came just days after Johnson returned to work following his hospitalization for the coronavirus. He spent a week in London’s St. Thomas’ hospital, including three nights in intensive care.
Symonds wrote in the post, explaining the name as “Wilfred after Boris’ grandfather, Lawrie after my grandfather, Nicholas after Dr Nick Price and Dr Nick Hart – the two doctors that saved Boris’ life last month.’
Johnson’s office says he’ll take paternity leave later this year.
MADRID — The Spanish government will require commuters on public transportation to wear masks, starting Monday.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made the announcement on Saturday. That’s when Spaniards were allowed outdoors to exercise for the first time in seven weeks. Sánchez says he’ll ask the Parliament for an extension of the state of emergency established March 14 and set to expire on May 9.
Also Monday, people can go to restaurants and cafes to take away food. Bookstores, hair salons and some retail outlets can open.
Sanchez says, “Now we are finally seeing the results of all these weeks of confinement, (…) and we deserve some relief.”
Spain’s death toll for the virus reached 25,100 after 276 more people died in the last 24 hours. That’s down from more than 900 daily deaths reported a month ago.
The total confirmed infections reached 216,582, with another 1,147 reported cases in the last day.
MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine Supreme Court justice says nearly 10,000 poor inmates have been temporarily freed by reducing the amounts of their bails to decongest jails amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen told an online video news conference Saturday most of the more than 9,731 inmates freed since mid-March were from jails on the main northern Luzon island, which has been placed under a massive quarantine.
Some of the inmates, who could not afford to post bail, were released to the custody of local officials, the Supreme Court said.
The Philippines has some of the most overcrowded jails in the world and at least one detention center in central Cebu city has reported more than 200 infections. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on petitions for the temporary release of elderly and ill prisoners amid the contagion.
The Philippines has reported nearly 9,000 COVID-19 cases and 603 deaths, among the highest in Southeast Asia.
MOSCOW — About one-third of the workers at a vast natural gas field in Russia’s far northeast have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Olga Balabkina, deputy head of the local government in the Sakha republic, says more than 3,000 of the Chayandinskoye fields 10,000 workers have tested positive, according to Russian news agencies.
Employees of one of the contractors at the field reportedly held a protest this week, claiming insufficient measures taken against the spread of the virus.
PARIS — Eurostar says all its passengers must wear face masks as a safeguard against coronavirus, effective Monday.
In a tweet in French and in English, the international high-speed train service says the policy will apply to both its trains and its stations, “in line with guidelines announced by the French and Belgian governments.”
It warned passengers without a mask could be refused travel. It says any mask is “suitable” if it effectively covers the nose and mouth.
The company has dramatically reduced its services connecting Brussels with Paris and London. There are currently only four trains a day.
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